Board of Directors & Staff

STAFF

Weam Namou

Executive Director

 

Weam is an Eric Hoffer award-winning author of 13 books, a two-time international award-winning filmmaker, journalist, poet, and an Ambassador for the Authors Guild of America [Detroit Chapter], the nation’s oldest and largest writing organization. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Wayne State University, Weam traveled the world as she studied fiction and memoir through various correspondence courses, poetry in Prague through the University of New Orleans, and screenwriting at MPI (Motion Picture Institute of Michigan). Her essays, articles, and poetry have been published by national and international publications. 

Deborah Al-Najjar

Administrator

 

Deborah has her Ph. D in American Studies and Ethnicity from The University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is co-editor of We are Iraqis (Syracuse UP) with Dr. Nadje Al-Ali and recently co-edited a special issue on the anniversary of the 1991 Iraq war with Dr. Benedito Ferrao. She taught at colleges and universities since 1988: Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Wayne State University, and Oakland University, and most recently, USC where she did her doctorate work. She is a career and writing coach.  

Sandy Naimou

Media Specialist

 

Sandy is a Yoga Teacher and Audiobook Narrator.  She has a B.A. in psychology, M.L.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies and researched experiences of Chaldean-American second-generation immigrant women for her master’s project. She has served on the board for the non-profit organization The Theosophical Society in Detroit since 2017 and is a serious student of Yoga philosophy and Theosophy. Sandy has taught physical yoga and meditation to various corporations, including General Motors for eight years, Delphi, Lovebook, the Detroit Zoo, and currently offers classes to HAP’s corporate clients.    

BOARD MEMBERS

Judith (Judy) Jonna

Chair of the Board of Directors

 

Judy is a Certified Energy Touch Practitioner at Healing Solutions in Bloomfield Township with a decade of successful experience in wellness and alternative healing.  She also teaches green cleaning classes and facilitates meditation and spiritual counseling as part of her practice.  Of Chaldean decent, Judy was born to immigrant parents and raised in Detroit. She served as campaign finance director for her Congressman in Bloomfield Township, her place of residence, for four years and has experience in retail as owner and operator of two candle stores. Judy is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Belle Isle Conservancy, and on the development boards of Angels Place and the Chaldean Community Foundation.  

Mahir Awrahem

Board Member

 

Mahir received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Mosul in 1990, a Master of Science Degree in Computer Sciences from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2000, and Master’s in Business Administration Applied Computer Sciences from Northcentral University in 2012. He studied Theology, Bible, Philosophy, and church history from Theology School at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Mosul/Iraq 1986-1990. He served our community in Michigan as a member of the board of directors at Chaldean Federation of America from 1999 to 2005. He was a member of the board directors [Michigan Chapter] at the Assyrian Aid Society of America from 2002 to 2013. He taught computer science courses for 18 years for universities and colleges in Michigan.  In 2009, Awrahem created the Aramaic Language and the Aramaic History and Culture courses’ curriculums for University of Detroit Mercy and he has been teaching the classes since then.  In 2017, Awrahem created the Aramaic Chaldean App for Mango Languages.  He is the author of: An Introduction to Syriac Language – Easter Dialect book.   

Avita Bacall

Board Secretary

 

Avita works as a makeup artist and is an Art Historian with a B.A. and M.A. in Art History. Her Master’s essay, “Michelangelo: The Evolving Style of His Three Pietàs”, was submitted to the school of Fine and Performing Arts at Wayne State University. During her undergraduate career at Oakland University in Rochester, Avita served as President of the Art and Art History department student group called “La Pittura”. During her academic career, she obtained 4 credits in British architecture from Oxford University, England. Work experience includes art gallery assistant at several local galleries and Assistant to the Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center.  

Basil Bacall

Board Member

 

Basil was one of the youngest Chaldean-Americans to work as a pilot for Northwest. In addition to his Flight Engineer Certificate, Basil holds a Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology from Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey. He has also completed advanced theology courses with the Michigan-based Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization Center, where he served on the Advisory Committee. Working with the Chaldean Federation of America, he is the co-founder of the Adopt-A-Refugee Family Committee.  

Wafa Bunney

Board Member

 

Wafa is an IT Executive (retired) at Ford Motor Company. Wafa’s 35-year career at Ford included managing and directing global IT teams from Americas, Europe, and Asia in delivering major IT applications in Manufacturing, Product Development, Marketing, Sales and Service, Finance and Human Resources. In addition to her job responsibilities, Wafa mentored and coached future leaders in IT at Ford and recruited talent from universities country wide. She is currently part-time consultant and chairman of the Business and IT school Advisory Board at Lawrence Technological University. She earned a Master’s in Business Administration at University of Detroit Mercy while working at Ford.  

Claudine Denha

Board Member

 

Claudine is a high school teacher at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She teaches business/computer classes and moderates the junior class, the Chaldean Curriculum Project, and Beamer, a business entrepreneurship group.  Claudine prides herself on being the first Chaldean teacher at Marian. She received a Business Marketing degree and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Wayne State University.  She currently serves on the board of the Chaldean Women’s Committee, is a member of the St. Thomas Pastoral Council, has assisted on Strides for Seminarians, and taught first Holy Communion.   

Marla M. Garmo

Board Member

 

Marla is a social worker with over ten years of experience working in the child welfare system. Currently, she serves as an academic officer supporting students with prior experience in foster care that attend Wayne State University. She has a passion for improving outcomes for young people that have spent time in the foster care system. Marla is currently pursuing an MBA at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business.  

Nora Hanna

Board Member

 

Nora is an attorney at Fieger Law in Southfield, Michigan. She studied Speech Communication and Rhetoric at Wayne State University before earning her Juris Doctorate from WSU Law in 2015.  During law school, she won Mock Trial awards for best written brief and best oral advocacy. She also was finalist in Mock Trial Competitions and was involved in International Law. She is admitted to the State Bar, Federal Bar and 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Her community affiliations include U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Chaldean Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association, Sixth District Court of Appeals, and Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce. 

Wasan Shaffou

Board Member

 

Wasan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, working as a Lab Manager, Test Engineer, and Program Manager in the automotive industry for the past 24 years. 

Linda Asker Hyaduck

Board Member

 

Linda  is an Estate Planning Attorney and the Director for Michigan’s 15th Senate District. She has been involved in non-profits since she was a student at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University College of Law. A passionate advocate, she has a history working with food pantries, legal clinics, neglected and abused children, developmentally and intellectually disabled people, mentally ill people, and the elderly.

Nada Jamoua

Board Member

 

Nada is a Sr. Project Design Engineer working for Nissan Technical Center in Farmington Hills, as a Design Engineer in the development of electronics components.  She has received a Presidential and Director’s Award for achieving Nissan’s objectives. She’s also a business owner of a Real Estate investment of several residential and commercial properties.  Nada attended the University of Michigan and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and has a master’s degree in Engineering Management (MEE) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Lawrence Technological University. Born in Baghdad, she emigrated from Iraq to the United States in 1977.  Nada is the Board of Directors of Shenandoah Country Club [CIAAM]. She is past board member for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and continues to lead its newly developed Chaldean Women Committee.   

Patrick Kattoo

Board Member

 

Patrick is the owner of Four Seasons Contracting, a construction company for both commercial and residential buildings. He’s also the owner of Public Waste, an environmental solutions provider in Southeast Michigan. Public Waste invests in developing waste solutions for a changing world, including counseling customers to achieve green goals, including zero waste. Patrick is a member of the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  

Andrew Keina

Board Member

 

Andrew is currently the Vice President of Top That Table, Inc. an event design and rental company located in Michigan. 

Sister Nada Khubeir

Board Member

 

Sister Nada is a nun belonging to the Order of Chaldean Sisters, Daughters of Mary Immaculate.  She is the choir director at Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church and also serves as the communion teacher at Sacred Heart Church.  She is a teacher’s aid at St. Fabian Catholic School.   

Ban Sadek Kizy

Board Member

 

Ban works part time as a Dearborn Public Schools bilingual third-grade teacher in Dearborn. She attended Mercy high school, and then went on to Wayne State University for several degrees in Elementary Education including a Masters in Bilingual studies and Endorsement in Early Childhood education. She was hired by Dearborn Public schools 26 years ago as a bilingual third-grade teacher.  Ban was born in Basra, Iraq to a Chaldean father and Lebanese mother. She is on several boards, namely, Chaldean Cultural Center, two Bloomfield Hills schools PTO, president of WIN (women in the neighborhood) support group, Foxcroft (neighborhood) Improvement Association, and was a Beaumont Hospital patient escort for several years. 

Paul Manni

Board Member

 

Paul currently finishing his Bachelors in Business Administration at Walsh College. He has also studied Philosophy and Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. Paul currently manages two businesses, a wholesale and a retail store, both in the cellular industry. Paul spends his free time studying and working on preserving the Chaldean Culture in every aspect such as its language, liturgical prayers, saints and martyrs, history, music, art, and much more. Born in America, he is fluent in Chaldean and Arabic and reads and writes Aramaic. He currently serves at Holy Martyrs Chaldean Church. He also spends his time aside from work and school, by collecting Chaldean books and archives, loves to read and study ancient manuscripts, also meets with many older Chaldeans by collecting and learning their stories on their legacy.  

Mark Mukhtar

Board Member

 

Mark is a partner at Ernst & Young LLP.  He is a licensed CPA and specializes in International Tax.  He has spent the last 30 years in the public accounting arena servicing a wide variety of clients ranging from smaller owner operated businesses to large multinational organizations.  He has also held a number of leadership positions with the firm.  Mark has held a number of board positions over the last number of years.  He was the Athletic Booster Club president for Notre Dame Prep from 2019 to 2021. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors for Great Oaks Country Club as a finance committee and strategic committee member. He will be assuming the Treasurer role at Great Oaks in 2023.

Rev. Andrew Seba

Board Member

 

Father Andrew is a Chaldean Catholic Priest of the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of the USA.  He received his Bachelor’s in Philosophy and later his STB from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit.  He was ordained in June 2013 and is currently serving at Holy Cross in Farmington.  

Sue Zoma

Board Member

 

Sue has been married for almost 50 years with three children and five grandchildren. She lived in San Diego California for 10 years and taught first communion and call bingo for Saint Peters. Returning to Michigan in 1997, she worked with the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, the Chaldean Foundation, and St Thomas Church for almost 18 Years. She has volunteered for the Chaldean Cultural Center since 2017.

Mary Romaya (Emerita)

Board Member

 

Mary is a retired teacher and former Executive Director of the Chaldean Cultural Center. Born in Detroit to Chaldean parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Telkeppe, she graduated from the University of Detroit with a B.A. degree with a major in History and received an M.A. Degree in School Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Mary worked for 45 years as a professional educator with Warren Woods Public Schools leaving the district in January 2011. Mary served on the Board of Directors of the Chaldean Cultural Center since its inception from 2003 until becoming its Executive Director in 2011and retiring in October 1, 2019.  She currently acts as a consultant to the Chaldean Cultural Center.